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India wants to "very quickly" resolve water sharing issue with Bangladesh: Doraiswami

New Delhi is keen on moving “very quickly” on resolving the thorny issue of water sharing of six common rivers with Dhaka, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami said.

“We see no barrier to sharing water with Bangladesh. I think we can move very quickly. The main thing is to come up with data,” he told United News of Bangladesh (UNB) in an interview. According to a report carried by the news organisation, Doraiswami spoke about technical committee level meetings that would be held in the first week of January after which the two countries would put together a mechanism on the water sharing framework.

Doraiswami was quoted as saying, "We've to share the waters. We're friends. We're neighbours. I think this will move very quickly," said the High Commissioner expressing his optimism to hold the Joint Rivers Commission meeting in 2021 if the pandemic allows.

Earlier, the issue of water sharing especially related to the Teesta river was discussed in a much hyped summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina as the south Asian nation gears up to celebrate 50 years of independence next year in March. Even as a water sharing deal was signed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in September 2011, it was scrapped by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee who said that this would lead to water shortage in her state.

Doraiswami added that India has already agreed to prioritise supply of Covid 19 vaccine as soon as necessary regulatory approvals come. Underlining that India maintains good relations both with Bangladesh and Myanmar, he added that New Delhi believes that the Rohingya issue needs to be resolved. He pointed out that India has been speaking to Myanmar on this issue.

“We speak to Myanmar at every level, the highest level of civilian government, the highest level of military
establishment in the State of Rakhine. Our position is also clear there," Doraiswami said in the interview.

Meanwhile, India has reiterated its support and commitment in strengthening relations with Bangladesh. Modi has also accepted Hasina’s invitation to join the celebrations marking 50 years of independence in March.

The prime ministers of both countries on December 17 inaugurated the Haldibari-Chilahati railway links connecting the two countries after 55 years..